Cuticle Treatment And TipsCuticle treatments are used to remove the layer of dead skin present at the edges and base of the nail. These treatments include cutting off the skin or dissolving the skin using creams and oils. The different treatments will also contain nutrients to moisturize and promote healthy skin. Common ingredients include sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil and jojoba oil. Creams and oils prevent infection as they do not damage the skin around the cuticle. The strip of dead cells found along the side and base of the fingernail is called the cuticle. The main purpose of cuticle treatments is to remove this layer so that the nail area looks as neat and tidy, particularly nails with polish. In addition to removing dead skin, treatments will also provide nutrients and moisture to the skin, preventing peeling and painful hang nails.
Skin and nails are normally soaked in warm water to soften the cuticle before it is pushed back with a special tool. Treatments may include clipping off the dead skin using small scissors. There are specific scissors made to cut very close to the nail, sometimes called cuticle nippers. Any trimming should be done with sterile clippers. In place of cutting, some cuticle treatments use creams and oil. Products are applied to the skin and nail to dissolve and repair the crusted, hard outer layer of skin. This method is preferred by many, as it reduces the chance of infection. Fungus and bacteria may access the nail through the cuticle, and this damage can lead to infection.
Oil is a common component of cuticle creams. Sweet almond oil and jojoba oil are frequently used in products as they will soften the skin around the nail. Vitamin E oil is sometimes included as this helps heal scars, softens skin and adds moisture to dry areas. Cream based cuticle treatments will frequently contain several oils but also have ingredients such as shea butter and beeswax. These treatments work in the same way as oils, but can be spread over the entire nail and surrounding skin. The cuticle softens, and the treatment also strengthens the nail.
Cuticle cream is used for moisturizing and softening the layers of dead skin surrounding the fingernails and toenails. It is often applied before a manicure or pedicure. Overgrown, dry, or ragged cuticles can then be gently pushed back and reshaped. This process both enhances the health of the nails and cuticles and gives the fingers or toes a more pleasing appearance. This cream is primarily made of some combination of vegetable or essential oils, occasionally with vitamins added for additional benefits to the skin. It is also common for the cream to include citric acid or urea to help the skin absorb it faster.
This cream can also be applied for cosmetic reasons. As it is moisturizing, it helps minimize dryness on the feet and hands, which is generally thought to be unattractive. It also softens the nails and the cuticles, making them more flexible and easier to manipulate during a manicure or pedicure. Often, manicurists or pedicurists will gently massage the skin surrounding the nails as they apply the cream. This massaging motion actually promotes nail health and growth as well by increasing blood flow to the eponychium.
Sometimes, cuticles can grow over the nails themselves, leaving small pieces of dead skin on top of the fingernails or toenails. This skin may be cut off with nail scissors, but this can potentially damage the cuticles. Cuticle cream can be applied to the overgrown cuticles instead. Once moisturized, the cuticles may be pushed back gently with a soft cloth, although some experts recommend against pushing the cuticles at all. Cuticle creams are safe to apply every day, or even multiple times daily. They can be applied in small amounts to the nails and surrounding areas with a cotton swab. Most are not absorbed into the skin immediately; to ensure full absorption, the cream should be left on the skin for a few minutes before beginning a manicure or pedicure.
Cuticle infection, or paronychia, is the infection of the tissues surrounding the nail bed. Mostly innocuous, it commonly affects the sides or the base of the fingernail or toenail. There are a number of factors that can cause this infection. Often, the infection develops from an injury or wound close to the nail bed.
Causes Of Cuticle Infection
When the cuticle is damaged or injured, bacteria or fungi can invade the injured area and cause infection. Usually, injury to the skin around the nail, or any untreated wound close to the nail, facilitates the entry of these infectious agents, which eventually can result in this condition. Depending on the cause of infection, paronychia can be acute or chronic.
Here's a list of factors that can result in damaged cuticles:
•Biting a hangnail
•Picking the skin near the nails
•Cutting or pushing the cuticles
•Prolonged exposure to water
•Use of chemicals like nail glue
Symptoms Of Cuticles:
•Swelling of the cuticle and surrounding areas
•Redness and tenderness of the infected area
•Discoloration and thickening of the nail plate
•Distortion of the affected area
•Loosening of the nail from the nail bed
Diagnosis and Treatment
The treatment depends on whether it is acute or chronic. While acute paronychia is treated with oral antibiotics and antibiotic ointments, chronic paronychia is treated with antifungal medication. Here are a few remedies for treating the condition, and checking the spread of infection.
•For bacterial infection, soak your fingers in warm water 4-5 times a day. You may also add a few drops of tea tree oil.
•Keep your hands dry. Use gloves to protect your hands from prolonged exposure to water.
•If there is accumulation of pus, it needs to be drained off the affected area.
•Soak fingers in vinegar solution, as it checks the growth of bacteria and fungi. Mix 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water to make a dilute solution.
•Never try to prick a blister yourself. This may cause the infection to spread to other parts of the finger.
Acute paronychia can take around 5-10 days for recovery, but chronic paronychia can take longer.
Here are a few tips on nourishing and maintaining healthy cuticles:
1. Moisturize Your Hands - One of the best steps to proactively keep your hands and cuticles in good shape is to moisturize frequently. Ragged, dry cuticles are the first to appear when hands don't have enough moisture, so be sure to apply lotion often throughout the day and pay special attention to moisturizing the cream into the cuticles. A lotion I simply love is Aveda Hand Relief - it's nice and thick for extra hydration, but it doesn't leave a greasy feeling behind.
2. Only Treat Moisturized Cuticles - If you need to push the cuticles off the nail, only do so after you've applied an ample amount of lotion. Pushing dry cuticles will leave them torn and jagged, which is the complete opposite effect you want. Use an orangewood stick wrapped in a cotton ball for gentle maintenance.
3. Remove Stubborn Cuticles - If you have stubborn cuticles, soften them up with a cuticle remover before attempting to push them off the nail. Push them down off the nail in small, gentle motions and finish cleaning up the nail by wiping it with a cotton ball. Essie Disappearing Trick Conditioning Cuticle Remover allows you to clean up cuticles without damaging them.
4. Don't Cut the Cuticles - What starts out as a good intention often leaves you with jagged and ripped cuticles. Once the cuticle is cut, it's susceptible to becoming sore or inflamed. Simply use cuticle removal lotion and push them down with an orange-wood stick.
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